Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College

Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College We work diligently to create a culture where social justice advocacy is a permanent part of Philander Smith College's core values. Philander Smith College launched its Social Justice Initiative (SJI) in August of 2007 under the leadership and vision of President Walter M.
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Kimbrough. With support and backing from faculty, alumni, students, and the board of trustees, Philander Smith College mission now reads“to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better.” The new college’s identity complements Philander’s rich history, which has always had commitment to the social principles of the United Methodist Church, as well as a focus and desire for social justice. Following the changing of the college’s mission, other critical milestones followed:

• The inclusion of special guest speakers and justice themes for Opening Convocation
• Inviting Bless The Mic lecturers who are renowned for their noteworthy activism
• The creation of the Ozell Sutton Medal of Justice
• The infusion of social justice themes in the Freshman Colloquium
• Increase of Justice-related internships for students
• Changing the College's address to honor social justice activist Daisy L. Gatson Bates
• The establishment and meeting of the Social Justice Advisory Board
• The founding of the student organization “The Social Justice League”

In 2010, the Kresge Foundation awarded the college 1.2 million dollars to establish an office for the SJI to continue to infuse social justice into the college’s culture. It is out of this opportunity that the office of the SJI was created and the vision, mission, strategic objectives, and organizational values were contrived.

Operating as usual

We are excited to announce the application for the 2021 - 2022 Social Justice Fellowship Program is officially live! If ...
04/16/2021

We are excited to announce the application for the 2021 - 2022 Social Justice Fellowship Program is officially live! If you have a strong interest in social justice, we encourage you to apply! THE LINK TO APPLY IS IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW⬇️. The application deadline is Friday, April 23rd at 5 PM. #SocialJusticeFellowship🔰

We are excited to announce the application for the 2021 - 2022 Social Justice Fellowship Program is officially live! If you have a strong interest in social justice, we encourage you to apply! THE LINK TO APPLY IS IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW⬇️. The application deadline is Friday, April 23rd at 5 PM. #SocialJusticeFellowship🔰

Today, President Biden fulfills the requirement of releasing his version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 federal budget, an...
04/09/2021
Biden Budget Prioritizes HBCUs and Students Most in Need | UNCF

Today, President Biden fulfills the requirement of releasing his version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 federal budget, and we are pleased to see that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are prioritized. The FY 2022 federal budget will include:

-Increase funding for HBCUs, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Community Colleges to enroll, retain and graduate students.

-The discretionary request would increase institutional capacity and student support at HBCUs, TCCUs, MSIs and low-resourced institutions, including community colleges.

-The discretionary request provides an increase of more than $600 million over the 2021 enacted level for these programs.

-These funds would also support programs that provide additional help to disadvantaged students, including those at community colleges, to ensure they succeed in and graduate from college.

UNCF grateful for proposed investments to benefit one of the most important programs for HBCUs   Today, President Biden fulfills the requirement of releasing his version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 federal budget, and we are pleased to see that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) ...

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on child care. We know that child care affordability has long been an issue locally. Even ...
04/01/2021

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on child care. We know that child care affordability has long been an issue locally. Even in the best of times, working parents — most often moms — become skilled jugglers, balancing childcare with unforgiving work hours. The pandemic has only made matters worse. If half of Arkansans are unable to pay for child care, we have a systemic issue. That’s why it will be important to build an economy that works for Arkansas’s hardest workers and their children. #ChildCare #StandUpForAlice

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on child care. We know that child care affordability has long been an issue locally. Even in the best of times, working parents — most often moms — become skilled jugglers, balancing childcare with unforgiving work hours. The pandemic has only made matters worse. If half of Arkansans are unable to pay for child care, we have a systemic issue. That’s why it will be important to build an economy that works for Arkansas’s hardest workers and their children. #ChildCare #StandUpForAlice

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on the “Arkansas Debtor Prison Cycle.” Debtors’ prisons consist of the arrest and jailing ...
03/31/2021

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on the “Arkansas Debtor Prison Cycle.” Debtors’ prisons consist of the arrest and jailing of low-income residents for failure to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford through criminal justice procedures that violate their most basic rights. And most troubling, debtors’ prisons create a racially-skewed, two-tiered system of justice in which those with low-income receive harsher, longer punishments for committing the same crimes as the wealthy, simply because they lack financial resources. What if the money Arkansans paid in criminal justice system fines and fees were used to make ends meet instead? Local economies would thrive and more families would prosper! #EndDebtorsPrisons #CriminalJusticeSystem #StandUpForALICE💰

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on housing and habitability. Current Arkansas laws largely protect landlords. Moreover, Ar...
03/30/2021

Today’s ALICE policy focus is on housing and habitability. Current Arkansas laws largely protect landlords. Moreover, Arkansas is the only state in the U.S. without an implied warranty of habitability law. A recent bill that was introduced this legislative session will look to create a “tenant bill of rights.” H.B. 1563, introduced by lead sponsor Rep. Jimmy Gazaway, would require minimum rental standards and provide tenants with habitable housing standards. We are urging lawmakers to vote yes in favor of this bill! #StandUpForALICE #HB1563 #Habitability #HousingPolicy🏠

As the 2021 Legislative Session continues, we understand that many ALICE related issues are still in play for discussion...
03/29/2021

As the 2021 Legislative Session continues, we understand that many ALICE related issues are still in play for discussion among our state lawmakers. That is why we’re excited to partner with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to participate in the #StandUpForAlice Social Media Week! All week we will share important content centered on housing/habitability issues, criminal punishment reform, early childhood, state earned income tax credit, and SNAP. Stay tuned! #StandUpForALICE

03/29/2021

Thank you all for helping us make Social Justice Week a success last week! For a quick recap, we testified at the State Capitol before the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus about our strategic goals and accomplishments in Little Rock and throughout the state. During the second half of the week, we successfully facilitated virtual conversations on fair housing policy, COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the Black community, and effective organizing best practices during a pandemic!

Through our mission of educating and inspiring students, academics, administrators and community members to do the work of eradicating systems of inequity so that all people are able to live with dignity, we will continue to embrace and catalyze work in social justice across the multiple domains of: education, health, environment, community, economics, politics, identity, civil, criminal, religious, racial, gender, age. #SocialJusticeWeek2021🔰

03/26/2021
Effective Organizing During a Pandemic Virtual Training

We Are Live Now!

The Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College and Community Change have partnered up to host a virtual training on what effective organizing looks like during a pandemic. Brittany Gray, Regional Organizer with Community Change, will conduct the virtual training. #EffectiveOrganizing #SocialJusticeWeek🔰

03/26/2021
Unmasking the Truth about the COVID-19 Vaccine in the Black Community

WE ARE LIVE NOW!

The Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, Arkansas Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association, Inc. (AMDPA), and the Derek Lewis Foundation have teamed up to have an important conversation with Black health care experts on the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine and addressing concerns of some in the Black community who are still hesitant on taking it. #COVID19Vaccine #SocialJusticeWeek🔰

03/24/2021
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Housing Policy Virtual Presentation

The Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. have partnered together to host a virtual fair housing rights policy presentation on housing. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, it is important to know what resources are available to you. We hope this presentation will help to strengthen self-advocacy, address racial inequities, and protect the rights/lives of homeowners and renters. Attorney Jason Auer, Fair Housing Project Director at Legal Aid of Arkansas, will conduct the presentation. #FairHousing #SocialJusticeWeek🔰

Join us tomorrow evening on Facebook Live as Social Justice Week continues! The Social Justice Institute at Philander Sm...
03/23/2021

Join us tomorrow evening on Facebook Live as Social Justice Week continues! The Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. have partnered together to host a virtual fair rights policy presentation on housing. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, it is important to know what resources are available to you. We hope this presentation will help to strengthen self-advocacy, address racial inequities, and protect the rights/lives of homeowners and renters. Attorney Jason Auer, Fair Housing Project Director at Legal Aid of Arkansas, will conduct the presentation. You can also also register from the eventbrite link in the comment section. #FairHousing #SocialJusticeWeek

To officially kick-off Social Justice Week, our SJI staff and fellows testified before the Arkansas Legislative Black Ca...
03/23/2021

To officially kick-off Social Justice Week, our SJI staff and fellows testified before the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus this morning about the work we’ve accomplished in Little Rock and across the state of Arkansas. We look forward to serving as a valuable community partner to the Black Caucus! #ArkansasStateCapitol #LegislativeBlackCaucus #SocialJusticeWeek🔰

03/22/2021

Social Justice Week begins today with the Social Justice Institute speaking before the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus about our work! #SocialJusticeWeek #PSC🔰

Social Justice Week Celebrates Civic Engagement!The Social Justice Institute (SJI) at Philander Smith College will prese...
03/19/2021

Social Justice Week Celebrates Civic Engagement!

The Social Justice Institute (SJI) at Philander Smith College will present Social Justice Week, March 22-26! A presentation before the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus, centered on the goals of the institute, will kick-off the week at the State Capitol on Monday, March 22 at 11 a.m. Social Justice Undergraduate Fellows, who are engaged in a year-long experience involving discourse, research, writing and activities of social justice, will be introduced.

Some issues to be highlighted across the week include fair housing policy, COVID-19 vaccine in the Black community and effective community organizing. Training and equipping leaders, sponsoring meaningful conversations, and elevating the visibility of social justice issues and values in the surrounding community and region are strategies used by the SJI.

“Through our Social Justice Week, we are excited to highlight the important roles civic engagement and public policy can play in fighting for racial equity issues," said, Christopher L. Harvey

Harvey is the Interim Associate Director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College and most recently served as a policy advisor to Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) in the U.S. House of Representatives. #SocialJusticeWeek #SJI #PSC

As part of our upcoming Social Justice Week, the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, Arkansas Medical, ...
03/17/2021

As part of our upcoming Social Justice Week, the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, Arkansas Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association, Inc. (AMDPA) and the Derek Lewis Foundation have partnered together to have an important conversation with Black health care experts on the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine and addressing concerns of some in the Black community who are still hesitant on taking it.

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Arkansas Advocates released a report in 2020 showing that Black Arkansans are three times more likely to die of the virus than Whites: For every 100,000 White Arkansans, 2.1% have died a COVID-19 related death; for every 100,000 Black Arkansans, the rate is 7.1%. #COVID19Vaccine #SocialJusticeWeek #LittleRock #Arkansas

To register for this event, please click on the link in the comment section.

Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. She should still be with us today! We will never forget you! #OneYearLater #SayHerName #...
03/13/2021

Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. She should still be with us today! We will never forget you! #OneYearLater #SayHerName #BreonnaTaylor

We are excited to have contributed to the planning of this upcoming event through our partnership with UNCF! This forum ...
03/11/2021

We are excited to have contributed to the planning of this upcoming event through our partnership with UNCF! This forum will focus on how communities/municipalities and HBCUs can prepare students for engagement as social justice leaders and allies!

Additionally, we believe it's important to facilitate dialogue between HBCU faculty, students, and HBCU-affiliated mayors on how to partner to serve their communities to address racial and social injustices.

We look forward to you joining us this Tuesday evening! To register, please click the link in the comment section. #SocialJusticeForum #HBCUs #UNCF #SJI #PSC

03/08/2021
The Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College and Urban League of Arkansas Young Professionals Virtual Public Policy Panel

The Social Justice Institute and the Urban League of Arkansas Young Professionals recently hosted a virtual public policy panel consisting of local policy leaders. The panel discussion centered on a conversation about the top policy issues in the state of Arkansas and best practices for effectively advocating for or agaisnt certain policies. The panelists consisted of:

State Rep. Monte Hodges - President of the Arkansas Black Legislative Caucus

Kymara Seals - Policy Director of Arkansas Public Policy Panel

Tamika Silverman Edwards, J.D. - Special Advisor to the CEO on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Engagement of Central Arkansas Water

Tristan Wilkerson- Managing Principal of Think Rubix

*Moderator/event co-host: Christopher L. Harvey, M.P.S. - Interim Associate Director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College

*Event co-host: TJ Green, MPA, M.P.S. - State President of the Urban League of Arkansas Young Professionals

Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College's cover photo
03/08/2021

Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College's cover photo

Join us Tuesday, March 9 as our Associate Director Christopher Harvey serves on a panel that will discuss the research f...
03/03/2021

Join us Tuesday, March 9 as our Associate Director Christopher Harvey serves on a panel that will discuss the research findings of the Little Rock Congregation Study and what that means for race relations in Arkansas. #RaceRelations #ResearchFindings #CommunityPerspective #SJI🔰

We are excited to partner with the Arkansas Urban League Young Professionals - Central Arkansas to host a virtual policy...
02/22/2021
Virtual Policy Advocacy Panel

We are excited to partner with the Arkansas Urban League Young Professionals - Central Arkansas to host a virtual policy advocacy panel on recently introduced legislation and their impact on Arkansas! You can register to attend through the link in our comment section. #PolicyAdvocacy #ARLeg

Virtual Policy Advocacy Panel

We are excited to officially announce Marc Lamont Hill as our keynote speaker to kick-off our first Bless the Mic lectur...
02/13/2021

We are excited to officially announce Marc Lamont Hill as our keynote speaker to kick-off our first Bless the Mic lecture series of the new year! #BlesstheMic #SJI #PSC🔰

Our Associate Director Christopher L. Harvey penned an op-ed on recently introduced legislation in the Arkansas General ...
02/05/2021
OPINION | CHRISTOPHER HARVEY: Reject legislation

Our Associate Director Christopher L. Harvey penned an op-ed on recently introduced legislation in the Arkansas General Assembly that has caused controversy across the state. Take a read and find out why those bills don’t support progress in Arkansas. #RejectLegislation #PolicyAdvocacy

According to U.S. News and World Report, the state of Arkansas ranks 42nd in education, 43rd in economy, 47th in infrastructure, and 49th in health care--alarming statistics that should have created a sense of urgency among elected officials in the Arkansas General Assembly.

We are very saddened by her loss this evening. However, we celebrate Cicely Tyson’s portrayals of strong African-America...
01/29/2021
Cicely Tyson, 96, Has Passed Away

We are very saddened by her loss this evening. However, we celebrate Cicely Tyson’s portrayals of strong African-American women and how they shattered racial stereotypes. #CicelyTyson #RestInPower 🎥🎬

No matter the decade or the role she chose, seeing Tyson on the screen was always refreshing. She raised the bar…and held it there.

On Tuesday, President Biden signed an executive order that ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on priv...
01/27/2021
Biden Moves to End Justice Contracts with Private Prisons

On Tuesday, President Biden signed an executive order that ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons. The executive order will direct the attorney general not to renew Justice Department contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. President Biden also directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to take steps to promote equitable housing policy. The executive order calls for HUD to examine the effects of the Trump administration's regulatory actions that may have undermined fair housing policies and laws. These executive orders are the latest round in a series of swift, aggressive actions undertaken by the Biden-Harris administration to combat racial inequality. #RacialEquity

The president’s latest batch of executive orders takes steps to promote racial equity.

We were excited to see President Biden prioritize racial equity on day one of his administration! The White House has al...
01/21/2021
Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government | The White House

We were excited to see President Biden prioritize racial equity on day one of his administration! The White House has also listed racial equity as one of its immediate priorities. The Social Justice Institute looks forward to serving as partners with the Biden-Harris administration to help address long standing systemic racial inequalities in America through policy, advocacy, research, targeted programs, and academics. #RacialEquity

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/business/biden-private-prisons-justice-department.html

Equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, and our diversity is one of our country's greatest strengths. But for too many, the American Dream remains out of reach.

Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris as they begin the work to heal our nation! After four tumul...
01/20/2021

Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris as they begin the work to heal our nation! After four tumultuous years of chaos, dysfunction, misinformation, and civil unrest, we are now ready to turn the page towards a new chapter! #Inauguration2021🇺🇸

Address

900 Daisy Bates Dr
Little Rock, AR
72202

General information

Executive Director: Tamika S. Edwards, JD Project Coordinator: Miyah Y. Bell Location: Philander Smith College Cox Building A-201 900 Daisy Bates Drive Little Rock, AR 72202

Telephone

(501) 975-8546

Products

Objective 1: To provide academic opportunities to faculty and students in areas of social justice teaching, learning, and serving.
The SJI will provide several academic opportunities for both faculty and students. The SJI will offer faculty development opportunities for faculty involving course development, service learning and social justice training. Likewise, the students will have the opportunity to participate in service learning, internships, and social justice related training. Additionally, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to interact with visiting professors/ practitioners from various academic backgrounds.

Objective2: To serve as an intellectual think tank by hosting campus, local, and national conferences on salient social justice problems facing society.
The SJI will initiate and partner with other organizations to hold conferences aimed at bringing awareness and developing critical consciousness on campus and the Little Rock community. The SJI understands that any effort at developing a campus culture devoted to social justice must actively be thinking and planning about how to best address and confront theses problems. These conferences will provide vehicle for scholars, students, faculty, and community members to come together and strategically plan on how to eradicate injustice.

Objective 3: To conduct and provide research opportunities for faculty and students on social justice issues in the African American community.
As the premier HBCU in Arkansas, we believe that we should be at the forefront for addressing and researching social justice issues specific to the African American community. Therefore, the SJI is committed to conducting major research projects on social justice problems by collaborating with non-profit and foundations that focus on the African American community. Additionally, we will create research opportunities for student and faculty members involving other social justice related issues also.

Objective 4: To serve as an advocate by championing social justice issues by collaborating with individuals and organizations.
The SJI is committed to becoming advocate for marginalized groups who have experienced injustice by supporting them thorough direct or indirect action. The SJI believes that at the core of social justice is the need to protect, defend, and respond for those groups who ordinarily cannot do so for themselves. The SJI will coalesce with other organizations and individuals by lending morale, intellectual and scholarly support.

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Booking is now open for The Rep's 2017 - 2018 Student Matinee Series, a program that allows students from across the state to experience professional theatre for as little as $8 a seat. Visit http://www.therep.org/education/student-matinees/ for production information, show dates, policies, and to complete our new online reservation form. #RepEducation #ArkansasRep